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Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Would You Do? I'd probably punch John Quinones in the face!

Have you ever seen this show?  It's called What Would You Do? and it basically puts people in awkward situations and secretly videotapes them to see what you would do. 

For example, I have seen episodes where a little boy is begging his dad for a Barbie and he is having a nervous breakdown about it.  I have seen episodes where an asshole slips something into his dates drink while she is in the bathroom and the cameras patiently wait to see if anyone will tell her.  I have seen the episode where they make it appear that there is a tiny infant locked in a hot car.

Quite frankly, this show is disturbing on many levels and yesterday I was convinced that I was on an episode.

I can't be sure if I am happy or disappointed that I wasn't.

Here is the scenario...

I am at a public pool with my kiddos.  My kiddos are swimming and I am relaxing in my beach chair, sharing a quiet moment with some friends.

Enter young mother with two children.  One child is around 3 and the other is a tiny baby, no more than 6 months old.  Young mother walks down to the pool edge directly in front of us and lifts her toddler into the water.  Then she get out one of these, which may or may not have been recently recalled.


Are you kidding me?

You aren't going to get in the water?

You are just gonna let your baby, who is now leaning precariously to one side just float around in the public pool? 

I am about to fight her when it dawns on me that she is a beautiful, 20-something, multi-pierced Latino who could easily kick my ass.  I do what any reasonable out of shape, approaching 40 year-old person would do.  I told the lifeguard on her.

He seems equally aghast, along with multiple people along the pool side.  Two older women directly behind us, had their hands over their mouths.  One gentleman near us was standing ready to act, if needed, once that baby flipped the raft.

The sweet lifeguard walked over and told her that she MUST be in the water with her children and that she can't be more than an arms length from her infant. 

When her paramour arrived I was sitting on the edge of the pool and overheard this conversation.

"That lifeguard is such a dickhead.  He told me I needed to be in the water WITH the baby.  I mean, I was sitting right there the entire time.  She's in a G**DAMN float.  What does he think is gonna happen?"

He thinks she's gonna drown and you should too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hump Day Craft Post: a birthday invitation

This is the birthday invitation I made for Middle G's 10th birthday party. She wanted to have a tie dye theme. I had a lot of trouble finding tie dye paper, so I made the paper by photocopying one of the birthday napkins. I think it turned out great and would use that method again in the future.

The turtle is from the Best of Pixar cricut cart. For obvious reasons, I am a little partial to Squirt. Middle G loved the saying and told everyone, even random strangers, what her birthday invites said.

Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you are posting a craft today, I'd love to come over and see it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Biopsy: one of the top three scariest words in the English language

I had a biopsy done today.

I found a weird shaped mole on my shoulder a few weeks ago. Okay, it was more like two months ago. Dermatologists freak me out. I don't really know why. They do. I figured I was most likely over reacting and it was just a mole.

Then, out of the blue, Middle G's good friend's mom stopped over to pick up her kid and shared news of her recent skin cancer removal. I thought, how odd? I find a weird looking mole and the next conversation I have is about skin cancer. She told me she was glad she had it looked at and it wasn't terrible to have it removed.

I asked her for the name of her dermatologist.

But I didn't call.

Then I went to the beach with my girlfriends. You know the trip that is better than therapy. One of the ladies there noticed my mole and asked about it. It's on the upper part of my back shoulder. It doesn't come up in conversation often. I shrugged it off.


Then I was working online. Okay, I was playing on Facebook and stumbled upon this video entitled Dear 16-year-old Me.

Does that sound like a PSA for skin cancer? Imagine my surprise when I realized it was.

That's when I thought "Just how many signs do you need?"

I called the doctor and I went today. I figured she'd tell me I was overreacting but she agreed with my assessment. Suspicious. She said she needed to biopsy it right away. She numbed the area and cut a chunk out of my shoulder.

Then I was given a "wound care" handout. Until then I was under the impression that she just scrapped off some skin. Nope. Apparently they don't want it to scab. Ummmm...okay? I am supposed to clean it out everyday and apply petroleum jelly. That

I won't hear anything for at least a week. Of course, given the fact that Monday is the 4th of July, I am anticipating a longer wait.

Waiting sucks almost as much as the word biopsy.
Monday, June 27, 2011

Camping: By the numbers

The cabin
Our week of roughing it is over and when I say roughing it I really mean listening to my children whine about why there is no TV and how come they aren't allowed to play with the ipad.  We stayed in a modern cabin this year, complete with electricity, a fridge, a stove, a shower, a flushing toilet and actual beds.

I know what you are thinking, that's not exactly camping, but it is the kind of camping I grew up with.  The kind of camping I did with my grandparents and it was a nice way for my kids to get to camp with their grandparents.  I mean, my MIL is 70, and she doesn't want to have to walk some creepy path in the forest to go to the bathroom in the  middle of the night any more than I do.

me and my yeah

Here's our week, by the numbers:

Number of smores I ate WITH PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!  10

Number of times someone tramped on my broken toe:  2

Number of times the kids from the cabin beside us were in or at our cabin:  17

Big G, middle G, Cabin Kid #1, Cabin Kid #2, Little G in the sand

Number of times my MIL belly laughed while we had a water balloon fight:  7

Number of times my MIL hung underwear out on a clothesline draped across our porch:  1

Number of times all 7 of us went for a hike:  2 (and that wasn't a good idea.  Between my broken toe and my MIL's cane we were a sorry bunch.)

Little G with Chicken the Cat

Number of times my son asked to keep the stray cat he named Chicken:  2,498

Number of times I swam in the lake:  0

Number of times my son squealed in delight at the sight of a duck walking:  1 (apparently he never knew they could walk on land.  Just putting it on my ever growing list of parenting fails)

Number of times my kids swam in the lake:  3

Number of fish my middle daughter caught:  19 (and by fish I mean tiny little sunfish the average size of a 50 cent piece)

Middle G with her really big catch

Number of times we went home to get something we forgot:  2

Number of times we went to Walmart:  3

Number of books I read:  2 (which is somewhat of a miracle)

Number of times a woodpecker woke me up:  2

Number of GIANT spiders we found:  1 (and that was one too many)

Number of combined bug bites:  212 (save very few for me as I must be rather bitter **smile**)

Number of visitors we had stop by (not including the neighbor cabin kids or the stray cat):  11

two of mine and two of my friends

Middle G, with Miss K and Crazy B

Friday, June 17, 2011

An Open Letter to Camp: Please don't suck

Dear Camp,

I feel like we have gotten off on the wrong foot. 

Sure, I have said things like "I hate you" and I admit, I have called you "Suckation", but you have to admit that you haven't always been nice to me.

Remember that time, when the kids had to wear garbage bags because it rained sooooo much that our tent flooded?

And who could forget the pedophile who wanted to "play" with my girls at the pool.

Surely you haven't forgotten about the time the beach was filled with all those sand digging bees?  Or how about the time the weather never got out of the 100s even at night.

Let's face it we have had a rocky relationship.  You have done some mean things to me and I have retaliated by refusing to take the dog and no longer sleeping in a tent.

I think we should make nice.  After all, I agreed to leave today and not come home until NEXT Friday.  That alone might kill me.  The only solace I have right now is that we are in a modern cabin 

Cut me some slack.  How about it only rains at night?  How about the beach is nice and not littered bees on steroids?  How about the weather remains pleasant?  How about my kids don't fight...LOL.  If you can make that happen I might consider not coming back.

Here's hoping we have come to an agreement.

Your friend,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Five Reasons I am failing my parenting class

I decided to sign up for a small group at our church entitled "Effective Parenting in a Defective World" and so far I'm convinced that I am failing.

Here's why. 

Last week we covered eight areas we could focus on.  Seeing as I had no paper (and I call myself a journalist) and couldn't write anything down, I will hit the highlights. 

Spend one on one time with your children. 

Make eye contact when you are talking to them. 

Pray with them A LOT. 

Have clear expectations.

Four out of eight ain't bad, but it's not proficient.

This week we were supposed to report the results.  Of course, this week coincided with the first week of summer vacation so as you can imagine parenting has been a breeze **insert sarcasm font**

  1. Spending quality time.  Does going with mom to the OBGYN count as spending quality time with me?  Don't spit out your coffee, the girls stayed in the waiting room (Little G was at a bday party).  If tagging along with me to the doctors doesn't qualify than insert EPIC FAIL here.
  2. Praying for party guests.  I have this image of parents around the world holding hands with their kids and praying earnestly about world peace and the end of suffering for all kids worldwide.  This week I selfishly prayed that guests would actually show up for Middle Gs birthday party.  No one from her school class RSVPd and I have to admit that visions of us sitting at the pool with nary a guest in sight were causing me to have some sleepless nights.
  3. Making eye contact while screaming.  I am pretty sure when Chip Ingram was talking about the importance of eye contact he wasn't talking about me in my 12 year olds face asking why she insists on being a bully with her siblings.  Why can't we just get along?
  4. Clear expectations.  In my mind, my expectations are clear.  At the pool, the only rule is NO DROWNING.  At home, in public, in life, the rules are clear.    These rules include treat each other they way you would like to be treated (FAIL),  No hitting (FAIL), speak to each other with respect (FAIL), if you get it out, put it back (FAIL), keep your room clean (FAIL).  I guess I should be happy that no one has drown.
  5. The Perfect family. The facilitator this week told us to ask our kids what the perfect family looks like to them.  My sons answer "The perfect family has never heard of boy scouts and doesn't have to go.  There's no fighting and everyone loves each other."  I said I liked that last part about no fighting and everyone loving each other and he said "So you like your life?  I thought you didn't."  OUCH insert yet another EPIC FAIL.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hump Day Craft Post: Teacher gift-Disney Album

I made this scrapbook for my son's teacher as an end of the year gift. She went to Disney earlier in the year with her family and I thought she would appreciate the gesture.

Some of my friends request teachers for their children.  Perhaps an older sibling had that teacher or maybe they just heard great things about them. I don't do that. I've never requested a teacher for any of my children. 

I might request someone I think would be most awesome only to find out that my son would have done better in a totally different atmosphere.  I am very happy he ended up in the 1st grade class he ended up in.  It was exactly what he needed.  How exciting is it that he is looping to 2nd grade with the same teacher?  She knows his strengths, his weakness, she knows exactly where he is at.

Over the course of the school year she went from being just my kid's teacher to becoming my friend and I couldn't be happier that he will have her again.

Let me know if you are posting a craft today.  I'd love to pop over and visit.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

RemembeRED - affection

The first time I met my future mother in law, I was in tears. Not the kind of tears you can easily conceal. The kind of tears you feel deep in your gut. The kind of tears that spill from your eyes when you feel hopeless. Lost. The kind of tears you feel like you won't recover from.

It is important to note that I am not a crier. In fact, since this first encounter nearly 20 years ago, my MIL can probably count on one hand how many times she has seen me cry since.

I was 18. I'd moved out of my home and was sharing an apartment with a girlfriend not far from where my now-husband grew up. We worked together. He was my friend. I knew he had a girlfriend, but I didn't care. When I lost my job and felt like my world was crashing down around me, it was him whom I longed to see.

My 18 year old brain was convinced that he would know what to do.

I can only imagine what my MIL was thinking. She claims she loved me from that day on, but I have my doubts. Hubby's girlfriend at the time was my polar opposite. She was a great student, headed to a four year college. She still lived at home. Prime and proper. I was every parents' nightmare.

Imagine if you will a crying child smelling of cigarettes, living in her own apartment, who's heavy eye make-up rained down over her face, knocking on your door asking for your son. I know what my first reaction would be.

My MIL looked deeply saddened as she told my future hubby went to his girlfriend's for dinner. I am certain she noticed my breathe catch in my throat. It was at that moment she reached for my hand and pulled me into her and hugged me.

She hugged the stranger crying on her porch.

Twenty years later and I continue to be greatful for that simple gesture.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A lesson in audience behavior: what not to do

After attending nearly a half dozen graduations over the past few days I found myself completely appalled by the disrespect shown by certain members of the audience.

Clearly, it is time to review what NOT to do while attending a public event.

DO NOT let your preschool aged child play on the stadium banisters. This is distracting, as well as, dangerous. People are trying to take photos and now your kid's ass is hanging out and in their line of sight. You decided to bring your kid and now you need to make that kid sit. No banister swinging, no stair running, no resting in the aisle. If they are attending the event, then they should be old enough to watch it.

DO NOT get up and leave. Unless you are having a medical emergency, you do not get to leave before it is over. You especially do not get to leave in the middle of a valedictorian's speech while wearing big ass high heel shoes that sound like a tank trunk clanging on the stadium steps. You are an adult. You should know better.

DO NOT wear that. I realize we live in a casual world but of the outfits worn to graduation were unbelievable. The basics--your breasts should be covered, your dress should be a length that would be allowed in high school, and strangers should not be wondering if you are family or paid-by-the hour entertainment. I actually saw a girl in jeans that looked as if they had been shredded. Seriously, she didn't have a single pair with only one hole?

DO NOT stand up unless instructed to. Do you really think that you are the only person trying to take a photo? Do you really think your video is somehow more important than the person behind you. In case no one has told you lately, you aren't royalty. DOWN IN FRONT.

DO NOT keep passing your crying baby around. I know I said you are not allowed to leave, but that rule is void if your baby is screaming. If your baby is screaming, you are not only allowed to leave but you are encouraged to leave.

DO NOT sit through the processional. When the program indicates that you should stand up, that means you should stand up until someone tells you to sit. It doesn't mean you should stand up only until you see your graduate. It doesn't mean that you only have to stand for half the processional because "This class is frickin' big."  It simply means get off your ass and stand. Be happy that you are able to.

DO NOT argue with other audience members. I will be the first to admit that this one can be hard. However, I encourage you not to yell profanities at people sitting around you. I implore you to treat others the way you would like to be treated. It's not that hard. Take a deep breathe and try it.

DO NOT bull horn your neighbor. For some reason, people feel the need to bull horn their graduates, cow bell their graduates, and even hold up signs displaying their pride over their graduates accomplishments. Ummm....did you notice the person sitting in front of you is wearing a hearing aide and you just blew it off their ear? WTF?

SHUT UP. You need to refrain from talking while others are speaking. Believe it or not there may actually be someone around you that is attempting to listen and write down what the speakers are saying.

All of the above happened at the five graduations I recently attended.  

Are we becoming a society that is so self absorbed we can no longer understand how our actions are affecting the people around us?

Have you seen audience behavior recently that you found to be deplorable?
Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 Graduation #5

Graduation season, for me, is officially over.  My last graduation was Friday.  Although, I attended five, sadly no one provided any Dr. Seuss wisdom.

On Friday, even though the weather was perfect, graduation was held indoors.  Apparently, since the gymnasium is air conditioned it will always be indoors.  I'm not sure why, as graduation is so much better outside.

I saw just under 200 students receive their diploma, listened to five speeches and pondered why no on in the administration was wearing a cap or a gown.  Usually this is traditional attire.  Especially for those who have reached the level of Doctorate of Education. 

This graduation season I saw nearly 1400 students receive their diploma, listened to more than 30 speeches, saw grandmothers cry,  heard bull horns blow, watched moms lovingly attach mortarboards, and saw dads waver between manly handshakes or big boisterous hugs.

My favorite quote from the last graduation I attended was spoken by the high school principal and was also the class motto.  I think it is a fitting ending to my graduation posts.

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."

How are you doing so far?  Will once be enough?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

To my middle daughter on her 10th birthday

Dear Middle G.

Today you are 10.  Double digits.  It is hard to believe that you will soon be in the fifth grade.  I feel like I am holding the fleeting moments of your childhood in my hands and like sand they are quickly running through my fingers. 

Like I do ever year, I will attempt to offer you some life advice.  Advice that I'm sure will mean little to you until you have a child of your own. 

  • Few Friendships last forever.  Lately there has been A LOT of girl drama in your life.  It is hard for me to keep track of who you like and who you don't like.  Who is fighting with who and who is friends with whom.  Friends will come into your life and friends will go.  Only a few will forever remain.  The trick is knowing when to hold on and when to let go.
  • School matters.  I know you think that spelling is useless and that math is often difficult, but trust me it is worth the effort.  No matter your age, force yourself to learn something new.  Step out of your comfort zone and try something different.
  • Be the friend you want to have.  I think I read this on a fortune cookie once and it makes a lot of sense.  Listen to what your friends are saying.  Offer to help them when you can.  Make them laugh often.  You will be surprised how quickly they will return the favor.
  • Screaming and crying never help.  If you get lost, don't cry.  If you are stuck in a bus, don't sit around and scream.  If you can't find your car keys, swearing won't help.  (Okay, that last one was for me.)  What I'm trying to say is life is gonna throw you some curve balls, it is better to swing with your eyes open than to close them and start to cry.
  • Figure out your passion.  Everyone has a gift.  Everyone has a purpose.  Figure out what yours is and pursue it.  Some people are lucky enough to get paid for their passion and others have to supplement their income.  But either way, never give up on your passion, be it art, music, teaching or inventing, find a way to incorporate it into your life.
As of today, your future plans include becoming an artist or a rock star and living in Chicago.  I'm sure if I ask you next month these plans could be different.  One thing I know for sure, no matter where life takes you, I will always be your Number #1 fan!  Cheering you on!

Happy 10th Birthday, Middle G.

All my love,

Mom (formerly known as mommy)
Friday, June 10, 2011

Lessons from the Lunch lady - end of the year summary

Ladies and Gentlemen, the lunch ladies have left the building.

It's official. Summer arrived at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday when I had my first sip of a Sex on the Beach. It was yummy but did little to numb the throbbing ache in my broken foot. This is what I get for putting all my summer goals in a blog post.

Here's what I learned in my second year as elementary lunch goddess.

The kids make it worthwhile. Let's face it. On any given day, my own kiddos can get on my nerves. And just like my kiddos, the kids at school sometimes push my buttons. But most of the time, those little buggers make it all worthwhile. They ask you to sign their yearbook, they cry on the last day because they will "willy" miss you, they think you are awesome even when you break your foot in an inflatable obstacle course and they wait in a long face paint line just so you can paint their cheek.

My elementary family. Some of my friends who are staff in other buildings or even other districts often comment on how nicely everyone treats everyone at our little ol' elementary. Plain and simple: I work with good people. From the lunch staff, the custodial staff, the aides, the teachers and the adminstration--they make my job fun. And like the CHEERS theme song, sometimes you just wanna go where everybody knows your name and they are always glad you came. I hope to see at least a few of them over the summer months.

Childhood Obesity is NOT the schools fault. It surprises me how often regulations change regarding school lunches. Let's be honest here, school lunches aren't great. However, they are not the reason this generation will not out live their parents. Just look around. We are becoming larger by the minute. We need to teach our children how to eat HEALTHY at an early age. If they get to elementary school and don't know bananas need peeled or how to tell the difference between an apple and a pear, we have failed.

You can lead a horse to water. Just like you can't make the horse drink, you can't make a student eat. If your student frequently buys lunch ask them what they are eating. Ask them what they had to choose from. You'd be surprised how few of the students take fruit, how many don't even taste the veggie. MORE FOOD IS WASTED THAN CONSUMED EVERYDAY.

Everyone makes a difference. I have never been embarrassed to say I am a lunch lady. Sure we lunch ladies laughed when the school district decided to display our post secondary education near the kitchen entrance. Each of us attended a business college. We joked that the students could learn by looking at that only one thing. Do not attend business college. You'll just end up in a cafeteria somewhere. Let me just say, I have worked in the field of my degree. I have worked for lawyers of all kinds. Good ones and bad ones. Between you and me...I'd pick a lunch lady any day. I have seen lunch ladies make sure no one gets a cheese sandwich, I have seen lunch ladies sit with lonely kids, I have seen lunch ladies wipe tears and give hugs. Why wouldn't I want to be part of that group?

In conclusion, I look forward to returning to the kitchen, even if I have to offer kale as a veggie choice next year.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2011 Graduation #4

Tonight was my fourth graduation in six days and still NO DR. SEUSS.  This is exceptionally disappointing. 

When I left my house, it was storming something fierce.  Hail was flying, rain was pouring but the farther south I got the nicer the weather became.  Still I thought, they're never gonna have this outside.  The rain is following me.  It's gonna be here shortly.  That would be stupid.

Much to my surprise the graduation was, indeed, in the stadium.  Thunder boomed in the background as the first speaker took the stage.  I even saw a couple of lightening flashes and wondered if metal bleachers were a good idea.

But nary a drop fell.  I saw 384 students graduate.  Listened to six speeches and one Phil Collins song.  My favorite quote of the evening was spoken by the superintendent.

"It is the person who never gets started that is destined to lose.”

Is there something you have yet to start?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A story about the day an inflatable obstacle course designed for small children kicked my ass

Imagine, if you, will this scene.

An elementary school gymnasium set up for Fun Day. There are three very cool inflatables inticing you to enter them. You have just painted a clown a.k.a. the school custodian. You are about to make approximately 200 hotdogs. There is excitement in the air. It is, afterall, the second to the last day of school.

After making up all the bagged lunches (bagged so the kids can eat outside), you hear these words. "Race you through the obstacle course."

You are hesitant at first. After all, your co-worker just ran a 5k. You, on the other hand, were winded taking the laundry up the steps last evening. You throw caution to the wind. After all, it's Fun Day and the kiddos will love it.

You and your co-worker gather at the starting gate. The gym teacher yells "Go". You take off, determined to beat her. You fly up the climbing wall and flip over the other side of it. You hear an odd noise but you don't care because you are WINNING. Your co-worker is stuck. She is slipping back down the climbing wall. You are elated. You are going to win!

You fumble your way through the stupid pillars, you dive through the unusally small tunnel and tumble out the other side all to the cheers of the 2nd graders!

As you stand in your socked foot, you realize the sound you heard earlier was the sound of your foot breaking. You sit at a lunch table and remove your sock. It is already becoming a nice shade of purple.

You do what any reasonable adult would do. You serve lunch and stay to face paint all the little kiddos in the afternoon. By the time dismissal rolls around, your foot no longer fills comfortable in your shoe. You stop by the nurse's office.

She tries not to chuckle at you as you recall the events that brought you there. She recommends an xray.

You take your kids to your friends house and get an xray. You friend tries unsuccessfully to conceal her laughter. The doctor tries not to chuckle at you as she relays that your foot is, indeed, fractured and that you need to follow up with an orthopedic specialist.

You are put in a ridiculously ugly shoe and given crutches.

Like any reasonable adult you take a Tylenol and go to your third graduation commencement of the week.

You wake up this morning after a very restless night and think that, perhaps, next Fun Day you will leave the inflatables to the kiddos.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 Graduation #3

There was a threat of rain today and I was concerned that commencement might be forced indoors.  So I was delighted when the threat passed and I was again able to attend an outside graduation.

Outside graduations are the best.

I saw just over 200 students graduate, listened to 7 speeches and took this awesome picture of the kids tossing their caps. 

My favorite quote of the evening was spoken by the superintendent and I think you will be able to figure out why.  It's not Dr. Seuss, but it's close.

"The turtle is a great animal.  In order for it to move, it has to stick its neck out. 
Don't hid in a shell.  Meet the challenges of your life head on."

Are you meeting the challenges of your life head on?
Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 Graduation #2

Tonight's graduation was beautiful and sad all at the same time.  The seniors lost one of their own less than one month ago in a motorcylce accident.  His chair remained empty as a reminder to all those in attendance that life holds no guarantees. 

That life is unpredictable.

His diploma was the first awarded and it was accepted by his parents.  Eleven white doves where released and they circled the stadium quite a few times before they departed.  Almost as if they were saying, "I don't want to go, but I can no longer stay."

The ceremony awarded 210 diplomas and provided six speeches to gather quotes from.  My favorite quote was spoken by the valedictorian as she remembered the classmate that died all too soon.

"Anything can happen to us at anytime.  Part of who we are is what we leave behind."

What kind of impression or mark do you want to leave behind?

15 things I'd like to accomplish this summer

Summer vacation, for me, is right around the corner so I decided to make a list of 15 things I'd like to accomplish over this much needed break.

Complete another edit. I want to complete another edit of my YA novel. I had a former English teacher friend offer to do an edit of the book for me and it is my hope to completely review her suggestions before the end of summer.

Paint my bedroom. This was on the list last summer and it has yet to be accomplished. I am tired of the colors in this room and I want to do an overhaul.

Enjoy my kids. I want to enjoy the fleeting moments when my kids aren't fighting. I want to be able to look back on the memories we make this summer with a smile and not feel like I spent most of it yelling.

Visit the Crayola Factory. I want to visit the crayola factory and I guess I should take the kids along. It might be weird if I go by myself. LOL

Clean and organize my craft room. I want to get rid of one of the desks I have in this room and get a more elaborate organizational system in there. I spend too much time looking for things and that is getting on my nerves.

Fly to Florida. We were invited to a college friend's wedding on the white sand beaches of Florida. We originally dismissed the idea as pricey, but now I think hubby and I are gonna try to swing it as an early (gasp) fifteenth wedding aniversary gift to ourselves.

Summer Reading Club. The kids enjoy visiting our teeny library. Every year we join the reading club and go on scavenger hunts provided by them. They are a lot of fun and a great free family activity that even the dog can go on.

Scrapbook. Make at least 30 scrapbook pages. That is only 10 a month...right?

Bulletin boards. I promised a few teachers that I would cut out some bulletin boards for them. I want to make sure I get those accomplished as well as make the ones we will be using in the cafeteria at the start of the school year.

Visit friends in Ohio. I haven't been back to Ohio in nearly five years. Since we left, lots of things have happened including a devastating tornado. I would love to go back and see some old friends and perhaps visit the zoo. This may not happen if gas prices continue to rise.

Survive Camp. We will be going to camp in a few short weeks. Don't worry we aren't camping in a tent. We are actually camping in a modern cabin which I am hoping will be like a hotel in the woods. LOL. Plus, the dog isn't invited.

Visit family. My sister and her family are planning to visit and that is always a good time. I hope to see my mom, my dad and my inlaws over the summer, as well.

Have a fire (or 2 or 3). I'd like to have some friends over for a camp fire and some drinks. Maybe I'll have a "oh crap summers half over BBQ" and invite some of my co-workers.

Birthday books and school albums. All three of my kids have birthday books and school books that need to be caught up. I am hoping to get them all up-to-date by the end of summer.

Recharge. Most importantly, I plan on sitting at the pool with my BFF and the family multiple times a week and just relaxing. During that time, I won't be checking my email, tweeting or even listening to music. I will be sitting poolside laughing with my friend. The only way it can get better than that is if we decide to share a cheese fry.

What do you plan on doing this summer?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

2011 Graduation #1

Last night was a great night to open the graduation season for me.  The sky was clear, there was a light breeze in the air and the excitement was electric.

There is nothing quite like a graduation.  Proud parents all around, grandparents with tears in their eyes, small children begging older siblings for a chance to wear their "cool hat".

Last night I watched as 388 young adults reached a major milestone in their life.  I witnessed numerous hugs, a few tears, and tons of laughter.

I listened to 9 speeches (overkill) as well as one of my favorite songs from the musical Wicked "For Good".

My favorite quote from the evening was spoken with great enthusiasm but the co-president of the class.

"When you are submerged in an ocean of pure emotion, sink down into life and experience it as it happens."

Are you experiencing life as it happens?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lessons from the lunchlady: cheese sandwich week sucks

Next week I will posting what I learned in my second year as elementary school lunch lady and that will be the end of our cafeteria adventures until the start of the 2011-2012 school year. Summer vacation officially arrives next Thurday. Two and a half days yet to survive.

Here's what I learned this week...

Asking vs. Expecting. In my mind there is a significant difference between asking someone to do something for you and expecting someone to do something for you. Ask me to run your coffee mug through the dishwasher and I will gladly do that. Leave it for days in the faculty room near the dirty silverware until the ants start marching in and I will, likely, throw it away.

Calorie counting annoys me. For some reason everyone I work with is on a diet. I realize that it is swimsuit season, but I've also been to the pool. Have you looked around? Everyone is someones supermodel. Right now, someone is wishing they were your weight. Join me in celebrating the Titantic diet. Have dessert (at least once a week). After all, you never know when you might just find yourself floating on an iceburg wishing you'd had the cheesecake.

I love the talent show. Third graders are fearless. They sing, they hula-hoop, they dance, they play the recorder, and they attempt to do magic. What happens to us as we grow that makes us care so much about what other people think? I wanna be as fearless as a 3rd grader.

Milkmen cry sometimes. I told you last week that I was pretty sure the milkman asked me to run away with him. Turns out it may have had something to do with his impending retirement. Our milkman is retiring after 53 years of service! That's impressive. He got a little teary-eyed when he said goodbye to us. I wish him green pastures and an always full stomach. Oh wait...he's not actually a cow. LOL. Best wishes, my friend.

Cheese sandwich week SUCKS. We go out of our way to avoid giving kids who have no lunch money at the end of the year a cheese sandwich. We try our damdest to make sure all the parents/guardians know that no lunch money in June = a cheese sandwich and a milk. Yet we had tears and tantrums this week.

On a high note, I actually had a visiting parent offer to pay for the lunch of a student who wasn't his and who was gonna miss out on Friday Pizza. Proving once and for all, that everyone hates cheese sandwich week.

What did you learn this week?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Writer's workshop: six word memoir

only four more days to go

Inspired by the Queen of writing prompts Mama Kat

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hump Day Craft Post: teacher flower pots

We are finishing up teacher gifts in our house.  Each of my three kids made four of these.  They had a surprising amount of fun making them...even my 12 year old.  Above is my son working on the one he made for his teacher.  He messed one of them up (the paint ran a little) and he wasn't happy.  He couldn't even think about giving her that one.  We had to buy a new one so he could start again.  He's such a gentle, caring soul.  I hope he is always like that.

Oldest got super creative with hers.  I think the flowers are very impressive.  She decided that she was giving all of hers to the lunch ladies.  It's hard with her lunch lady  mama to argue with that.

 Middle daughter took just as much time with hers as youngest.  She went so far as to decorate one with her teacher's favorite football team logo and colors. 

Here's what they looked like all wrapped up and ready to go.  The tag said, "Thanks for helping me grow."

If you are posting a craft, leave me a link.  I'd love to pop over and visit.
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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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